Game Review - by StormDaemon
Only a single word is needed to truly describe such a game as Fighter Squadron: awesome. For years flight simulator fans have been waiting for a game that could truly recreate World War II air combat and convey the intensity that was dog fighting. The wait is over because this game has come to take its place as one of the best WWII air combat simulators ever made. That is a big statement with big expectations, but this game truly does fulfill every wish and even goes a bit further.
Fighter Squadron contains so many incredible features and options that they could not explained here. To begin with, the level of realism is beyond any other simulator out there. From little bits and pieces of the plane breaking off during combat to engine torque to having functioning controls and gauges, this game has it all. Each plane has a feel of its and needs a different type of handling to even be able to get off the ground, and that itself is not even that easy because of all the factors involved. While the engine is on, the plane shakes realistically with the engine and rotor, and with all of the movements, if there would be a jerk or a shake in real life, then it is in the game. None of that smooth flying with no blackouts or redouts, this game is hard and realistic. That is, of course, if you have all the available realism options turned on. If a simple arcade game is desired, than that can be accomplished, but that would take so much fun out of the game.
The various modes of play are training, missions, scramble, test flying, and multi-player. Training allows you to develop fine control of the aircraft, missions are specific missions in specific theatres, scramble allows for a quick round of random combat, test flying allows you to test out the vehicle without having to worry about anything, and multi-player is just that, multi-player over the internet or direct connection. All of them are fun and very entertaining.
Fighter Squadron plays like a dream for any flight sim fanatic. The controls are realistic, the planes are realistic, and just about everything else comes about as close to reality as you could get without actually being in the plane. Accurate physics were used, and accurate models as well. If a wing or any other piece gets shot off, then if the plane can fly, it will. The game boasts up to 40 different breakpoints, all properly simulated, so if at all possible you can fly the plane home on half a wing, if you are that good.
The AI is very good and acts just like it should. The enemies are hard to beat and very good at flying. They vary in their difficulty, but if you come across an ace, then they will show you their skills without even trying too hard. Your squad mates and crew react to the events occurring and do their jobs as one would expect.
Flying the planes is a lot of fun. With 10 authentic WWII planes, from the B-17 bomber to the ME-262, you'll never get bored, which can be rarely said about a number of games.
The graphics in this game are as good as the gameplay, maybe even better. Using full 3D, Fighter Squadron accurately depicts each plane with all of its parts, most of which can be blown off in combat. The landscapes and skies are all beautifully done, with the only negative thing being the time to load them, which can take several minutes, but once they are loaded it all is worth the wait. The detail level in the game is beyond incredible with things ranging from streaks in the air from bullets, the throttle lever moving to the instrument gauges in the cockpit, to realistic fire coming from the guns. The explosions and fire all look realistic and very good, with pieces of the unfortunate plane being spewed over the landscape. Each plane is also adorned with the appropriate paint job of its squadron. While the outside of the planes look great, so do the insides, which is all in 3D and looking wonderful as usual.
In between the missions, which you can easily spend a long time in, the menus are awesome. All of them have themes of WWII and look like pieces right out of that time period. The movies are just as good and look very authentic.
Not enough can be said in praise of the graphics of Fighter Squadron, which seem to have everything but the kitchen sink (and maybe it does have it). On a final note, I honestly cannot think of one more thing they could have done to make the game more detailed.
The sound effects of this game are another absolutely incredible aspect. The first impression of the sounds comes from the music and the menu background sounds. While in the menu's, you'll hear from famous people during WWII such as the president and other leaders. News radios will also broadcast in the background, informing you of events during the war and sounding so authentic, it makes you feel like you are right there, experiencing the whole thing. Once a mission has started, the great music starts up and will make you feel right at home. The music sounds just like it came out of one of those old war movies with a heroic militarily sounding anthem which is so appropriate it is unbelievable.
The actual sounds of the plane and the surrounding combat are just as authentic and maybe even more so. You'll hear the sounds of the engine and the creaking of the plane as it flies throughout the sky. The sound is so detailed that when you fire, you actually hear the sound of the button being pushed inside the aircraft as you hear the guns shoot on the outside. The engine sound also changes as the throttle is increased or decreased, or as it required to work more or less for a climb or a dive. During battles a spotter will tell you where enemy planes are, and you'll be able to hear those planes fly by if they get close enough.
Again, not enough praise can be given to the incredible amount of detail in the sound effects, in game music, and background music.
Fighter Squadron, while it looks relatively normal, has to be one of the most realistic flight simulators ever created. A serious amount of time and effort must have been into this game, and it truly shows, not only in the gameplay, but the extra little details that make flying a plane in the game pretty close to flying a plane in real life. Anyone who is WWII fanatic will love this, and even anyone who is not may have a lot of fun too. I whole heartily recommend this game to everyone, and I can only hope that game designers in the future take care to learn from how wonderfully Activision and Parsoft Interactive developed this game.